About Sikelela Owen

About Sikelela Owen Sikelela Owen is a London-based artist who studied Fine Art at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and more recently completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art Painting at the Royal Academy School, London. Sikelela has recently exhibited in London in both group and solo shows and more recently as part of the Young Gods exhibition at the Griffin Gallery. Curated by Charlie Smith Gallery, the Young Gods exhibition runs until 15th February and features some of the most exciting graduates of Summer 2012. Sikelela Owen's Work Sikelela’s paintings depict people in non-events, leisure and everyday moments. The figures featured are friends, family and people of interest. As a result of utilising classical and vernacular painting tropes alongside a myriad of image making references, the paintings are frequently unknowable yet strangely every-day. Alongside the intimacy shared with her subjects, Sikelela has a wider interest in communities and physical spaces, in particular, the changing relationships between personal experiences and mediated experience . Her paintings are usually produced from source photography/video stills which can be processed through collage, drawing and studies. Another key factor in the construction is the collection of external imagery from magazines, website, newspapers, photographers and film. Sikelela believes that the distance created by secondary source materials offers more space for interpretations of the subject and event. Areas of either extremely light or dark and contrasts are used throughout the work and colours are often muted. Sikelela is drawn to the works of Manet, Kerry James Marshall, Alex Katz and Alice Neel. She says, “They all resonate for many differing reasons but I feel they all successfully produce paintings that are both personal yet the same time as reveal something larger and more significant than the minutiae of personal experience.” The figures in Sikelela’s paintings are predominately black and are initially born from the nature of the image selection. Yet the desire to project the black figure into the historical narrative of paintings seems to produce a key point of interest for audiences, and while the depiction of the black figure is of interest to Sikelela, the work is not created to directly addressing this question. Sikelela says, “Ultimately I believe that the medium of painting with its language, fluidity, physicality and immediacy is well adapted to explore the tensions of the everyday.”